National Non-Smoking Week sees many BC businesses going smoke-free by choice
VANCOUVER, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - While the BC government has gone pro-tobacco
on the eve of National Non-Smoking Week, many BC businesses are going smoke-
free by choice.
"In numerous studies published in jurisdictions around the world, there
have been no negative economic effects from bars and restaurants going smoke-
free. The only three studies showing negative effects were funded by the
tobacco industry," said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society,
BC and Yukon Division.
"It makes sense to jump on the train with the 80 per cent of BC's
population that is non-smoking, rather than hoping the shrinking minority of
smokers will carry your business," said Kaminsky. "More non-smokers avoid
smoky bars than the entire number of adult smokers," she added.
A case in point is Dean Gaudry, owner of Nanaimo's Windward Pub, which
has gone smoke-free. Gaudry says business continues to grow and is
surprisingly brisk this month. Gaudry kept his pub smoke-free when the
government overturned the WCB's smoke-free workplace legislation in March
Before taking his business smoke-free, Gaudry had three Honeywell
electrostatic filters and was venting 1200 cu ft/minute, but still "couldn't
keep up with the smoke on busy nights."
The Penticton Lakeside Resort, Conference Centre and Casino also
eliminated the smoke. Knowing a ban was being put in place Jan. 1, 2000, the
resort decided to take their bar smoke-free in Dec. 1999, after completing a
$10 million renovation and expansion.
"Even though the majority of staff were smokers, they voted to keep the
bar smoke-free when the WCB ban was overturned three months later," says Gitta
Schoenne, sales and promotion manager. "They said they preferred working in a
In May 2000, the entire hotel and casino went non-smoking, short of five
guest rooms out of 204. It's a drastic turn-around in less than a decade. In
1993, the resort had 187 smoking rooms. However, "since the renovations and
going smoke-free, every month has been a record-breaking month," Schoenne
"We had some complaints and lost a few regulars but, moreso, we heard
from non-smokers how great it was to have a smoke-free venue to come to," she
said. "We've gained a lot of customers which far outweighs the ones we lost."
Schoenne says it makes business sense to provide services that the
majority of the population want, rather than catering to the minority, and
adds, "Besides, what smoker doesn't want to quit smoking, deep down? We're
making it easier to help people achieve that goal."
The Canadian Cancer Society is also committed to helping people kick the
habit. National Non-Smoking Week (January 20-26) is the perfect time to make a
"We know smokers need support in their attempts to quit and we are here
for them," says Kaminsky. The Society provides a proven, self-help, quit
smoking program called One Step At A Time. It also offers the BC Smokers'
Helpline support service at 1-877-455-2233, which is funded in part by the BC
Ministry of Health.
The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) provides leading financial support for
cancer research and delivers community-based support programs and prevention
information for all types of cancer. The BC and Yukon Division has six
regional offices and a presence in over 100 communities, with more than 17,000
volunteers, serving over 100,000 people.